Pillar Pages: Why and How You Should Add Them to Your Content Strategy

The writer’s views are completely his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and should not at all times replicate the views of Moz.

In a current research, we discovered that our pillar pages are magnets for hyperlinks, natural visitors, and e-newsletter subscribers — particularly in comparison with common weblog posts. Listed here are the outcomes that each varieties of search engine optimisation content material generated over the course of a 12 months:

Do these outcomes imply you must ditch your weblog technique in favor of pillar pages? Not precisely.

Right here’s the catch: You actually can’t have one with out the opposite, and all of it comes all the way down to content material mapping. I’ll clarify precisely what I imply on this article.

What’s a pillar web page?

A pillar web page is a chunk of content material that comprehensively covers a broad subject. Pillar web page — additionally typically known as hub and spoke — content material weaves collectively a variety of related subtopics (spokes), organizes them multi functional place (hub), and successfully showcases your material experience for the broad subject.

Pillar web page content material ought to be straightforward to navigate for readers trying to be taught — at a excessive degree — a few specific subject, however must also provide related assets for them to dive deeper. 

Instance of associated assets discovered on a pillar web page.

It’s type of just like the choose-your-own-adventure of content material advertising.

Topical authority: why it’s vital

In the case of content material creation for search engine optimisation and digital advertising, you don’t wish to create content material round any previous subject. As a substitute, you wish to reinforce your model’s topical authority with each new piece of content material you create (be it a weblog, a pillar web page, an eBook, and so forth.).

Let’s put it this fashion: Should you’re within the enterprise of promoting mechanical keyboards, it doesn’t make sense to publish a weblog article about one of the best recipes for a summer season BBQ. Until you’re recommending that your clients grill and eat their mechanical keyboards, which is (extremely) unlikely.

As a substitute, it’s extra useful to your model — and your viewers — should you cowl matters associated to mechanical keyboards, like:

  • What’s a mechanical keyboard?

  • Mechanical keyboards vs. common keyboards.

  • Customized mechanical keyboards.

  • Find out how to transition to a mechanical keyboard.

  • Professionals and cons of a mechanical keyboard.

By protecting as many matters associated to mechanical keyboards as doable, you’re constructing a basis of informational content material that tells engines like google: “Hey, I do know rather a lot about mechanical keyboards!”

And the extra content material you may have that begins to rank for vital search phrases associated to mechanical keyboards, the extra seemingly searchers will see you as an authority on the topic. Ideally, they may begin coming again to your content material when they should be taught extra about this particular subject.

Pillar pages + blogs = a match made in content material advertising heaven

A well-executed and arranged pillar web page is among the finest methods to showcase to your viewers (and engines like google) that you’ve got topical authority in a selected space. Weblog posts enable you obtain topical authority by permitting you to cowl a variety of related subtopics in nice element, and pillar pages arrange all of that content material into a pleasant, user-friendly package deal.

Let’s check out this tactic in motion.

We constructed our content material advertising information as a pillar web page, which allowed us to cowl a slew of subtopics associated to the broader subject of content material advertising, multi functional piece of collateral. 

All of those subtopics are organized into sections on the web page, with a hyperlinked desk of contents on the high to permit readers to choose and select precisely what they’d prefer to find out about:

Then, all through the web page, we provide readers the chance to go deeper and be taught extra about every subtopic by linking to related weblog content material:

What’s content material mapping?

A pillar web page is a nice tactic should you’ve bought loads of present weblog content material all targeted on a specific mum or dad subject. It’s considered one of our favourite methods at Brafton to repurpose and repromote our blogs.

However it’s also possible to create a pillar web page with all brand-new content material — it’ll simply take extra analysis, planning, and manufacturing time to finish.

Enter: content material mapping.

Content material mapping is the method of assessing your target market, understanding what they’re attempting to realize, and serving to them alongside that journey with branded academic and business content material. Its scope can span the whole lot of your content material advertising technique or a single piece of pillar web page content material.

Why content material mapping issues in content material advertising

The planning (or content material mapping) of a pillar web page is simply as vital because the analysis completed to decide on the proper key phrase to focus on for your enterprise.

Pillar pages are type of just like the books of the advertising world. Should you had been an professional birder, for instance, you wouldn’t got down to write a e-book about bird-watching with out doing any analysis. Particularly should you’ve spent loads of time writing and publishing articles about bird-watching in your weblog. You’d wish to perceive a couple of issues earlier than beginning that e-book, like:

  1. Which of my weblog posts generated essentially the most curiosity from new and returning readers? (i.e. pages with essentially the most new and returning guests, as seen in your internet analytics software).

  2. Which blogs saved readers coming again for extra? (i.e. pages with essentially the most e-newsletter subscriptions, or one of the best e-newsletter subscription charges).

  3. Which blogs did my business friends discover most helpful? (i.e. pages with the best variety of high-quality referring domains and backlinks).

These questions could be answered by trying by means of your internet analytics instruments, corresponding to Google Analytics and Moz Professional.

Instance of content material evaluation by high linking domains.

You’d additionally wish to perceive what the competitors appears to be like like earlier than you spend dozens of hours writing 1000’s of phrases to fill a e-book.

You’d wish to reply questions, like:

  1. What do my rivals’ books on bird-watching seem like? (i.e. the varieties of bird-watching subtopics the web page 1 outcomes cowl).

  2. What does Google assume searchers wish to see after they seek for bird-watching? (i.e. the varieties of content material which are discovered on web page 1 to your goal key phrase — and shock! it may not be books).

  3. How lengthy and detailed are my rivals’ books? (i.e. the extent of complexity and comprehensiveness of the content material rating on web page 1).

These questions could be answered by manually reviewing related SERPs and using TF-IDF instruments like Clearscope or MarketMuse to grasp the breadth of subtopics and varieties of content material rating on the primary web page.

Instance of guide SERP inspection.
Instance of TF-IDF content material evaluation.

When you perceive which of your content material performs finest and which content material Google and different engines like google choose to rank extremely to your goal key phrase, you can begin piecing collectively a plan to your pillar web page.

A word about inner linking

Earlier than we dive into the how-to portion of this piece, we must also acknowledge the significance of inner linking to this entire course of.

And I’m not simply speaking about throwing in a hyperlink to a associated product/service on the finish of the web page and calling it a day. The interior linking construction of your pillar web page is actually the glue that holds the entire thing collectively. It helps readers simply navigate to associated assets to proceed studying out of your model. And it helps engines like google perceive the connection between your pillar web page content material and the extra content material you’re highlighting on the web page.

However in terms of inner linking, there is such a factor as an excessive amount of of an excellent factor.

Together with too many inner hyperlinks all through your content material could cause a irritating person expertise or look spammy, so use warning and ensure the one inner linking you do on the web page is extraordinarily related to the mum or dad subject.

Should you’re uncertain whether or not or not you’ve bought too many inner hyperlinks on the web page, you’ll be able to run it by means of Moz’s On-Web page Grader software, which mechanically counts the variety of hyperlinks in your web page and flags should you’ve bought too many.

Tip: Understand that this software will depend ALL hyperlinks discovered on the web page, together with these in your major navigation and footer, so the “Too Many Hyperlinks” warning may very well be a false constructive.

As Moz explains: Google recommends you don’t go over 100 inner hyperlinks per web page, as a result of it could dilute the search engine optimisation worth despatched from the pillar web page to the linked pages, and it could additionally make it more difficult for customers and crawlers to navigate the entire content material.

Two data-led methods to map out content material for a pillar web page

There are a few alternative ways to method the development of any such content material, however they every depend on natural search knowledge to prepared the ground.

1. Planning a pillar web page and associated assets (all from scratch)

Let’s fake you don’t have any prior content material created a few specific subject. You’re mainly ranging from scratch. Let’s additionally assume the subject you’ve chosen is each core and commercially precious to your enterprise, and that your area realistically has an opportunity of rating on web page 1 for that key phrase.

Let’s say you’re a pet meals firm and considered one of your major merchandise is cat dental treats. When you’ve decided that that is the precise key phrase you wish to goal (“cat dental treats”), it’s time to start out your analysis.

Step 1: Manually examine SERP to grasp searcher intent

First, we’ll begin by manually inspecting the primary SERP for this key phrase, and answering the next questions:

  1. What varieties of content material are on the primary web page of outcomes?

  2. Why are individuals trying to find “cat dental treats”?

By answering these two questions in our SERP evaluation, we’ll make it possible for our plan for making a pillar web page to rank truly is smart and it’s what searchers wish to see on the SERP. We’ll additionally higher perceive all the explanations behind why somebody would possibly search this key phrase (and we are able to then tackle these causes within the content material we create).

So let’s reply these questions:

Query 1: What varieties of content material are on the primary web page of outcomes?

Reply 1: The primary SERP contains quite a lot of product advertisements, a Individuals Additionally Ask part, and a number of natural blogs and product pages.

Varieties of content material discovered on the SERP for “cat dental treats.”

Query 2: Why are individuals trying to find “cat dental treats”?

Reply 2: From a fast evaluation of the SERP, we are able to deduce that folks wish to know why and the way cat dental treats are vital to a cat’s well being, and so they additionally wish to know which cat dental treats work finest. Maybe most significantly, it’s extremely seemingly that they plan to buy cat dental treats for his or her furry companion(s) within the close to future.

Step 2: Choose associated key phrase concepts for weblog content material

Because you don’t simply wish to create a pillar web page for simply the first key phrase, you additionally wish to pinpoint a number of associated subtopics to be written as weblog content material.

For this a part of the method, head over to your key phrase analysis software, plug in your goal key phrase and (with an eye fixed for matters that you just’re well-suited to cowl), jot down an inventory of key phrases and phrases.

Right here’s our checklist of potential weblog matters:

  • Finest cat dental treats.

  • How do cat dental treats work?

  • What to search for in cat dental treats.

  • Do cat dental treats work?

  • Can cat dental treats substitute brushing?

  • Vet beneficial cat dental treats.

  • Grain-free cat dental treats.

Step 3: Select subtopics to cowl in your pillar web page content material

Subsequent, you’ll wish to evaluation the subtopics talked about within the high rating outcomes. Whereas this course of could be completed manually (by clicking into every consequence on the SERP and jotting down the matters talked about), a TF-IDF software like MarketMuse makes this a part of the method a lot faster:

These TF-IDF instruments analyze the highest 10-20 outcomes to your goal key phrase and mechanically current the widespread subtopics talked about in each bit. This provides you an excellent understanding of what you’ll additionally have to cowl in your piece to compete for a top-ranking spot.

Right here’s the checklist of subtopics we’ll wish to cowl on this pillar web page, based mostly on our MarketMuse knowledge:

Step 4: Create your define and plan content material

Now it’s time to attach the dots out of your analysis. One of the simplest ways to do that is to start out by structuring your pillar web page define, after which going again in and filling within the areas the place you wish to create supporting weblog content material.

Right here’s an instance of what the top consequence would possibly seem like:

H1: The Full Information to Cat Dental Treats: For a Contemporary-Breath Feline Pal

H2: What are cat dental treats and the way do they work?

  • Matters to cowl: Cat dental treats
  • Weblog submit to help part:
    Title: How Cat Dental Treats Work (& Why Your Kitty Wants Them)
    Key phrase: how do cat dental treats work

H2: What are the advantages of cat dental treats?

  • Matters to cowl: Clear enamel, recent breath
  • Weblog submit to help part:
    Title: Do Cat Dental Treats Actually Work? (Right here’s What The Specialists Say)
    Key phrase: do cat dental treats work

H2: Are cat dental treats an appropriate various to brushing?

  • Matters to cowl: Cats dental well being
  • Weblog submit to help part:
    Title: Cat Dental Treats Vs Brushing: The whole lot You Want To Know
    Key phrase: can cat dental treats substitute brushing

H2: Do vets suggest utilizing cat dental treats?

  • Matters to cowl: Veterinary oral well being council
  • Weblog submit to help part:
    Title: Vets Advocate Utilizing Cat Dental Treats — Right here’s Why
    Key phrase: vet beneficial cat dental treats

H2: The very best cat dental treats to attempt

  • Matters to cowl: Purina dentalife, Feline greenies, pure components, synthetic flavors.
  • Weblog submit to help part:
    Title: 5 Of The Finest Cat Dental Treats & Why We Love Them
    Key phrase: finest cat dental treats
  • Weblog submit #2 to help part:
    Title: What To Look For In Cat Dental Treats
    Key phrase: what to search for in cat dental treats

Creating a top level view for a pillar web page isn’t straightforward, however as soon as laid out, it helps us perceive the content material that must be produced to convey the entire thing to life.

Right here is our checklist of content material to create (based mostly on our define):

  1. Pillar web page: The Full Information to Cat Dental Treats: For a Contemporary-Breath Feline Pal

  2. Weblog #1: How Cat Dental Treats Work (& Why Your Kitty Wants Them)

  3. Weblog #2: Do Cat Dental Treats Actually Work? (Right here’s What The Specialists Say)

  4. Weblog #3: Cat Dental Treats Vs Brushing: The whole lot You Want To Know

  5. Weblog #4: Vets Advocate Utilizing Cat Dental Treats — Right here’s Why

  6. Weblog #5: 5 Of The Finest Cat Dental Treats & Why We Love Them

  7. Weblog #6: What To Look For In Cat Dental Treats

One of the simplest ways to sort out this checklist of content material is to create and publish the six weblog posts first, then as soon as they’re dwell, you’ll be able to write the pillar web page content material, inserting hyperlinks to the supporting weblog posts straight within the copy.

2. Planning a pillar web page from high performing content material

For this subsequent technique, let’s say you have already got a ton of printed content material a few specific subject, and also you’d prefer to reuse and repromote that content material inside a pillar web page devoted to that subject.

All the steps within the earlier course of apply, however for Step 2 (Choose Associated Key phrase Concepts for Weblog Content material), do the next:

First, you’ll wish to perceive which of your present items generates essentially the most curiosity out of your viewers. Let’s use our internet analytics knowledge for this. On this instance, we’ll have a look at Google Search Console knowledge as a result of it reveals the precise search efficiency of our web site content material.

Let’s use the subject of “content material creation” as our desired pillar web page key phrase. Seek for the question in Google Search Console (select the “Queries containing” possibility): 

Pull the entire pages at present producing impressions and clicks from phrases containing your subject, inserting these with the best clicks and impressions on the high of your checklist. Right here’s what this would possibly seem like: 

As you’ll be able to see, many of the content material we’ve created that additionally ranks for key phrases containing “content material creation” is weblog content material. These will probably be extremely helpful as associated assets on our pillar web page.

Now, return to your TF-IDF software and choose the subtopics associated to “content material creation” that you just wish to cowl in your pillar web page. Instance:

  • Social media content material

  • Content material creation software

  • Content material creators

  • Content material technique

  • Content material creation course of

Lastly, map your present weblog content material to these “content material creation” subtopics. The preliminary mapping could look one thing like this:

You might not be capable to map every weblog completely to the subtopic you’re protecting in your pillar web page, however that’s  OK. What’s vital is that you just’re offering readers with related content material (the place relevant) and that content material, as you’ve seen in your Search Console knowledge, is already confirmed to carry out properly along with your natural search viewers.

Pillar web page planning templates and assets

Pillar pages take an unimaginable period of time and planning to execute, however they’re price each penny.

Right here’s an instance of the success we noticed after producing considered one of our more moderen pillar pages, “Find out how to Rank on Google:”

Progress of referring domains and hyperlinks to the web page since its launch in April 2022.

Right here’s a template of the define used to convey the web page to life (and you should utilize it to your personal pillar web page). Simply make a replica and off you go. Good luck!

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